12 July 2017

SALVATIONISTS and friends in the Quebec Division of the Canada and Bermuda Territory were greatly encouraged by the visit of General André Cox and Commissioner Silvia Cox (World President of Women’s Ministries). The four-day trip included tours of Salvation Army facilities, meetings with local government officials and a well-attended service at Montreal Citadel.

The tour began with a visit to Rimouski, the town nearest to the site of the sinking of the Empress of Ireland in 1914, which claimed the lives of more than 150 Salvationists who were travelling to a congress in London, England. Accompanied by territorial and divisional leaders, the General and Commissioner Cox visited the Empress of Ireland Museum and met with representatives from other charitable organisations and local officials including Member of the National Assembly Harold LeBel and Mayor Marc Parent. They discussed the role The Salvation Army could play in meeting the needs of the Rimouski community.

The next day, the General's party met with François Blais, minister of employment for Quebec, to discuss the various social issues facing the province – particularly loneliness, mental health and drug addiction. The General noted that while no organisation, on its own, can tackle all of these problems, 'if we work together, we can achieve much more'. A tour of the Hôtellerie des Hommes/Maison Charlotte shelter later that day gave the General a first-hand look at one way The Salvation Army is serving the marginalised in Quebec City.

Dinner with the city’s advisory board offered further insight into the Army’s ministries in Quebec. Noting that General Cox was the first international leader to visit Quebec City in more than 40 years, Dino Marzaro, chair of the board, presented him and Commissioner Cox with a painting that symbolically depicts the Army’s service to the community.

Moving on to Montreal, the delegation met with local Mayor Denis Coderre and discussed the Army’s involvement in the fight against homelessness, and how its partnership with the city could be strengthened and expanded. The meeting was followed by officers and leaders councils at Le Phare Corps (church).

That evening, a full house at Montreal Citadel greeted the General and Commissioner Cox with great enthusiasm, as the corps hosted a divisional public meeting. The multilingual service – reflecting that the congregation contains English, French and Spanish speakers – included Scripture readings, a testimony from Daniel Bourque, chaplain at the Montreal Booth Centre, and music support from the corps band.

In her message, Commissioner Cox encouraged the congregation to embrace the new life that is available in Jesus Christ. 'We need a new heart,' she said. 'With faith, transformation is possible.'

As the meeting concluded, and to the delight of the congregation, the General accepted an invitation to conduct the band in the march 'Montreal Citadel'.

On the last day of the visit, the General met with the Montreal advisory board, thanking the members for their ongoing support of the Army’s work. The delegation then toured L’Abri d’Espoir (shelter of hope), where they learned about the 60-bed facility's programmes for women in crisis. After an official welcome to the shelter by Sandra Mastrogiuseppe, president of the L’Abri d’Espoir board, the General and Commissioner Cox had time to interact with the shelter’s residents, who were excited to meet the world leaders and share their personal stories.

Later, at divisional headquarters, the General discussed the Army’s Accountability Movement. He commended the staff for their commitment to the mission of The Salvation Army, emphasising how it contributes to lives being changed.

Report and photos by Kristin Ostensen
Associate editor and staff writer
Canada and Bermuda Territory

Tags: Americas and Caribbean, The General